May 28, 2006

Tale of Two (Hundred) Dumplings

This weekend saw me in a bak chang wrapping frenzy — two sessions, one at Amy’s and another at my mom’s. But despite this high level of participation, I didn’t actually learn how to prepare any of the ingredients. You see, all the ingredients need to be prepared the day before the “wrapping” and I somehow missed both the sessions.

So while I would be competent enough to wrap my own dumplings next year, I haven’t much clue how to get any of the ingredients ready.

Saturday: bak chang making at Amy’s place
Call time: 11am
Ingredients: dried oysters, dried scallops (small ones), hae bi hiam, braised meat, braised mushrooms, chestnuts.
Rice: Uncooked glutinous rice, which was mixed with the gravy, salt and sugar
Leaves: Too small. Or at least we all thought so.
Halfway through, we ran out of: rice and had to send her uncle out to get an additional 2kg of rice.
First bak chang emerged at: 3.00pm
Verdict: We thought it was not salty enough, but the sewing ladies thought it was fine. Should bear in mind that raw grains will expand, so I should’ve used less of it. I cheated and put in a lot of rice to make the dumplings easier to shape.
Total number of bak chang: 165 (of which I only contributed like 20)
After that: I brought some to the sewing circle, went home, slept till 9.30 before dragging myself out of the house for the off-the-wall party.

Sunday: Bak chang making at Mom’s
Call time: 2pm (She had some facial appointment.)
Ingredients: braised meat, chestnuts, dried shrimps, braised mushrooms,
Rice: semi-cooked glutinous rice. It really makes the wrapping much easier, as the rice is much more malleable and stays where you want it to.
Leaves: Even smaller! Mom was really mad at the shop who sold her the leaves. I, on the other hand, was thinking of making mini bak chang. But I kept the thought to myself. Usually, creative suggestions such as mine, are not well-received.
Halfway through, we ran out of: meat and had to send my dad out to get an additional 2kg of meat. He came back with too-fatty meat, and salted eggs with the most gorgeous yolks I have ever seen!
Total number of bak chang: 100+
First bak chang emerged at: 4.30pm (it was of the nonya variety, which mom made without me)
Verdict: We’ll try to add some minced meat to the cut meat so that it will bind together better. For the salty ones, I think I’d add some sugar to the rice when / if I make it.
After that: I brought some to Amy and preggers Pearlyn.

Posted by Karen at May 28, 2006 04:22 PM in food & drinks

I want to try! Both the hae bi hiam ones and your mum’s nonya dumplings. I think the baby bak changs is such a good idea..I always have difficulty finishing one whole bak chang. Bite size ones will be very good indeed!

Posted by: jo at May 31, 2006 11:30 PM

You make bakchang? Wow…! I love the ones with chestnuts and salted egg yolks…yum! Although I love to cook, I think I’ll leave the bakchang making to other folk…too much work!!! LOL!

Posted by: Kisane at June 10, 2006 06:36 PM

only eat this once a year - 2 fattening for me.

Posted by: Purplepieman at June 17, 2006 10:59 PM
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